Based on my question, “Do you have a sense that academic women are more or less overwhelmed (or underwhelmed) than they used to be?” here is one academic’s response:

In general, the women I know are dealing with one or two more balls in their juggling act (which was already at its limit).  Some people are losing their home, so they are trying to pack their home, making sure their kids feel secure and tip-toeing around their husbands, who feel like failures for not providing the security for their family.  The others who are not losing their home are dealing with less income and hoping to prevent the aforementioned. Women take on making things seem “normal” when they are far from it. My friends tend to be over-achievers, so they are the ones who are team moms, secretary to the PTA, etc. on top of being asked to do more with less at work.  We tend to think we thrive in an overwhelming atmosphere, because we can manage it, even get praised for doing it “all”, but I know for me, I really secretly just want to be whelmed.

In reality, I think most all women these days feel overwhelmed, but it varies to what their threshold of responsibility is. My threshold (of taking active roles in the organizations I am involved in) is much higher than most and if I am being honest, I used to think poorly of those who didn’t take on more responsibility (like being on the PTA, hosting the football team at their house, etc.). I used to have to sit on my hands when I was on the high school Boosters, so I didn’t volunteer for anything more. I reached a saturation point, but I still knew that if no one volunteered, I would raise my hand.  However, recently, I have come to realize that we all have our limits and just because I can’t seem to recognize where mine is, these women obviously have either met or exceeded their limit and are taking control of that for themselves.  I applaud their ability to recognize that in themselves.


What are you juggling?  How is it affecting you?  Please click on the Comments link at the top of this post and the comment box will appear.  We look forward to your responses.

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